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Attributed to Gerard Mercator
circa 1570; Duisburg
Gilt brass; 316 mm in diameter

This extremely beautiful astrolabe is made up of the mater, which can house the seven plates with which it is equipped, one by one. The rete bears the zodiac circle, the constellations and the most important stars. Six plates are calibrated for particular latitudes, from 36 to 60?, while one displays the geographical mirror for the Northern and Southern hemispheres. The plate for the latitude of 43? (Florence) appears to be the work of Florentine craftsmen, probably connected to the Medicean workshop where Giovanni Battista Giusti worked, around the 1560s.

The instrument derives from the bequest of Robert Dudley to the Grand Duke of Tuscany. Despite being anonymous, the characteristics of the instrument resemble those of the instruments made by the great Flemish cartographer Gerard Mercator and his workshop.

Istituto e Museo di Storia della Scienza, Firenze
Inventory no. 1098

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